Between Friends - By Amanda Cowen

Chapter 1

“What are you looking at?” Were the first five words Ben had ever said to me.

I had spent the last few minutes watching him meticulously sort out the red M&M's from a candy dish on top of the kitchen table before he shoved a pile of them in his mouth, “Do the red ones actually taste different, or are you just a weirdo?”

“What do you think?” he asked as a goofy grin spread across his face.

“I’m thinking weirdo.” I laughed, and tossed my long brown hair to the side.

Ben tapped his fingers on the table and bit his lower lip, “I’m thinking you’re wrong.”

“I think not.” I snapped back, and heard all our mutual friends snicker from behind me.

He quickly stuck his hand back in the dish and pulled out a single brown and red M&M, “Well then, I guess you’ll have to see for yourself.”

I rolled my eyes, and let Ben place one brown M&M into the palm of my hand. I popped it in my mouth and tasted its milk-chocolate flavour. When I was done, he proceeded to present me with the red one. His smug smile encouraged me to crunch down on the deal breaker with hopes of disproving his theory. But as the red candy coated texture began to melt in my mouth, I hated to admit it, but he was right.

“Well?” Ben asked with a playful glimmer in his eyes.

I nodded in defeat.

Ben triumphantly fist pumped the air and said, “Well, you passed the test. I guess that means we are going to get along just fine.”

That same night, back in the ninth grade, Ben and I ended up secluding ourselves from everyone at the party. We talked about anything and everything in a dark corner of my best friend Jessica’s basement. We quickly realized we had a lot in common. Our sense of humour was the same (deadpan and dry). He also had a father who cheated on his mother (as did I). He sometimes ate pickles for breakfast (also my favorite morning treat). We both preferred bare feet to socks; we both despised Halloween and dressing up in ridiculous costumes; and we both liked spicy food.

There was never a weird lull in our conversation or an awkward pause. I wondered where he had been my whole life, and I thought I had found the perfect friend. It worried me to think that if Jessica were to ever break up with Michael, (Ben’s best friend) I could potentially lose Ben as a friend forever (high school loyalties - you know how it is).

But luckily, their perfect love story lasted all the way through high school, right on through university, and into our young adulthood. It was no surprise when Jessica called me last year on Christmas morning screaming into the receiver that Michael had finally asked her to marry him. Everyone in our long-standing group of friends was so happy for them. After all these years, they were tying the knot, and even better they decided to do it in Costa Rica.

So after a long and winded day at work, I am more than thrilled to be boarding a plane in the morning for this highly anticipated wedding. I unlock my front door and scurry into my bedroom. I have so many things to do before tomorrow, and I haven’t even started packing yet. I flop down on my bed, and pull out the maid-of-honor checklist Jessica made me crumpled up on my nightstand.

Megan’s Maid-of Honour Checklist

By Jessica Marie Ellis (best friend and bride to be!)

1. Four No wait, FIVE pairs of Spanx (Michelle might need to double up. She didn’t lose the 10 pounds like she promised)

Ohmigod, Jessica can be so cruel. Our friend Michelle is far from needing to lose a few pounds. She may be more pear-shaped than the rest of us, but at least she has curves. I would give anything to add some curvature to this rail thin body of mine.

I toss the Spanx into my luggage and move on to the next:

2. Double sided tape is a MUST!!! Oh, and don’t forget to pack a little extra padding for yourself. Flat chests are a no - no on my big day.

Oh, the nerve of her. Just because I am not as well endowed as she is, doesn’t mean she has to remind me. I storm into my closet, rip out my strapless padded push-up bra and a roll of double sided tape to stuff into my luggage.

3. Breath